MTV aired its World Trade Center Movie Special about Oliver Stone’s controversial new movie earlier this week, as Stone and stars Nicolas Cage and Michael Pena appeared on the show with an NYPD officer named McLaughlin. The stage was somber and simple; behind the actors and the officer was the poster for the film lit by dim house lights, and in front was a group of students who were ready to ask questions in between clips of the film.
Those included predictably fluffy queries like: “Mr. Cage, where did you get your inspiration for the emotions you felt in the film?” to which Cage answered as if he was speaking with James Lipton.
“Don’t you think this movie is too soon?” another student asked. “What new revelation about 9/11 can you offer the world with your movie?”
The response came from all three. Cage reminded the crowd that they did not have to see the movie if they felt so strongly, and added that he thought it would inspire people. The officer held that in order to get the events as factual as possible and describe the story of the two surviving police officers, the best time to film was sooner, rather than later. Stone claimed it was important that the events were still fresh in people’s minds.
He offered a more interesting answer to the next question, which was, “Why did you decide to shoot the film as a conventional Hollywood film rather than a documentary or in cinema-verite fashion?”
Stone claimed that the film was not just for the students or the elite film crowd, but for everyone. It was not a documentary, he added, because it is the story of two trapped police officers, not a hard look at the events. He wanted people to become emotionally involved with the characters and feel for them as they’re trapped beneath the rubble.
WTC opened this week under heavy criticism and mixed reviews. Some people feel so strongly about 9/11 that even with the one of the greatest filmmakers of our time behind the project, they’ll still refute the film. I’ll see it because I want to see if Stone can deliver a strong message while handling one of the most precarious topics in America. The MTV special helped me understand some of his intentions, but we’ll see if they hold up on the big screen.
By Intern Mike Singer